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Big Mamma, the French-Italian restaurant group known for serving Instagram-worthy dishes and drinks to diners in Paris and London, has seen its valuation rise after selling a majority stake to the private equity firm behind the Gail bakery chain. The value reached 270 million euros.

The investment from London-based private equity group McWin will be used to fund Big Mamma’s expansion plans in the United States and the Middle East, and will build on Big Mamma’s existing portfolio of 23 restaurants across five European countries, including Its original locations include the East Mamma restaurant in Paris and a restaurant in London. Boborale Circle.

Big Mamma co-founders Victor Lugger and Tigrane Seydoux will continue to run the business and retain a minority stake. Seventeen early investors in the restaurant group will exit, including France telecom billionaire Xavier Niel and media tycoon Stéphane Courbit.

Lage and his partner Seydoux netted millions of euros by selling some of their personal stakes as part of the deal, telling the Financial Times that the investment would help Big Mamma “get bigger…”. . . To create a global brand of affordable, experiential luxury dining.”

Big Mamma’s colorful dishes with big names – including “Naughty Garlic Bread” and “Yummy Bread” beef brioche – as well as lavishly designed restaurants and affordable prices have proven to be a draw for diners , the group now serves 15,000 customers daily across its 23 sites.

A plate of food at the Circolo Popolale restaurant in London, UK
Big Mamma will launch its fourth new website this winter in Milan ©Nathaniel Black/Alamy Stock Photo

“If you want to build a global brand, if you want to be bigger in terms of design, authenticity, HR, recruiting, food, if you want to transcend your boundaries… “It takes strong backing and it takes the ability to A partner to help you,” Lugger said.

But Large, who also runs a restaurant payments app, said Sunday he’s aware of the risks for restaurant brands that work with private equity partners, given their checkered history in the industry.

Restaurateur Jeremy King’s relationship with private equity investor Graphite Capital soured, with their partnership ending in 2017 after just a few years. Recently, private equity-backed chains like Prezzo have had to restructure to stay afloat.

“The influence of some private equity on quite a few brands is questionable . . . in this country,” Lugar said. “It’s like when you get married – if you don’t face up to the fact that 50 per cent of marriages end in divorce, you’d be stupid… all you have to do is walk down the high street in Britain.”

But McWin has positioned itself as a specialist in restaurants and food technology, and the private equity group has invested about €1 billion in 14 brands since its founding two years ago. McWin is also backing pasta restaurant Vapiano and White Rabbit Projects, the joint venture behind Indian restaurant Kricket and Italian deli Lina Stores.

“We’re painfully aware of the shortfall of private equity in this space,” said Harry Goss, a partner at McEwan. “The secret to good restaurant investing is that when you’re looking for an exit, the growth opportunities are just as good. . . . It’s the same when you go in. If you get it wrong, it doesn’t really matter how many restaurants you open if the restaurant loses its way.”

Lugger said last week that to show his commitment to the business, he tasted 70 dishes in two days during his visit to East Mamma.

Big Mamma will open a fourth new store in Milan this winter as it attempts to beat Italian restaurants and pizzerias on its own turf, and plans to open a third restaurant in Spain next year. Most of Big Mamma’s 2,400 employees are Italian, and nearly all of its ingredients are sourced directly from Italy.

Lugger estimates it will be at least two years before launching Big Mamma’s first U.S. venture and said he is considering opening offices in Chicago, Miami and Atlanta. In recognition of the brand’s ambitions, he added that he would “probably” move to the United States within the next two years.

Henry McGovern, one of McWin’s founding partners, said Large and his partners “have pioneered a new kind of restaurant experience that provides customers with a truly unique and memorable dining experience at every location.” The deal is scheduled to close by the end of the year.


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